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This silent war of lilies and of roses
Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,
In their pure ranks his traitor

eye

encloses; Where, lest between them both it should be kill'd, The coward captive vanquished doth yield

To those two armies that would let him go,
Rather than triumph in so false a foe.

Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue
(The niggard prodigal that prais'd her so)
In that high task hath done her beauty wrong,
Which far exceeds his barren skill to show :
Therefore that praise + which Collatine doth owe,5

Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.

This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper;
For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
Birds never lim'd no secret bushes fear :
So guiltless she securely gives good cheer

And reverend welcome to her princely guest,
Whose inward ill no outward harm express'd :

For that he colour'd with his high estate,
Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty;
That nothing in him seem'd inordinate,

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Save sometime too much wonder of his eye,
Which, naving all, all could not satisfy;

But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.

But she that never cop'd with stranger eyes,
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks,
Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies
Writ in the glassy margents of such books ;
She touch'd no unknown baits, nor fear'd no hooks;

Nor could she moralize 6 his wanton sight,
More than his eyes were open’d to the light.

He stories to her ears her husband's fame,
Won in the fields of fruitful Italy;
And decks with praises Collatine's high name,
Made glorious by his manly chivalry,
With bruised arms and wreaths of victory;

Her joy with heav'd-up hand she doth express,
And, wordless, so greets heaven for his success.

Far from the purpose of his coming thither,
He makes excuses for his being there.
No cloudy show of stormy blustering weather
Doth yet in his fair welkin once appear ;
Till sable Night, mother of Dread and Fear,

Upon the world dim darkness doth display,
And in her vaulty prison stows the day.

6 moraiize] i. e, interpret.

For then is Tarquin brought unto his bed,
Intending? weariness with heavy spright;
For, after supper, long he questioned
With modest Lucrece, and wore out the night :
Now leaden slumber with life's strength doth fight;

And every one to rest himself betakes,
Save thieves, and cares, and troubled minds,

that wakes.

As one of which doth Tarquin lie revolving
The sundry dangers of his will's obtaining ;
Yet ever to obtain his will resolving,
Though weak-built hopes persuade him to ab-

staining;
Despair to gain, doth traffic oft for gaining;

And when great treasure is the meed propos’d, Though death be adjunct, there's no death

suppos'd.

Those that much covet, are with gain so fond,
That what they have not, that which they possess,
They scatter and unloose it from their bond,
And so, by hoping more, they have but less;
Or, gaining more, the profit of excess

Is but to surfeit, and such griefs sustain,
That they prove bankrupt in this poor-rich gain

The aim of all is but to nurse the life
With honour, wealth, and ease, in waning age;

? Intending) i. e. pretending.

And in this aim there is such thwarting strife,
That one for all, or all for one we gage ;
As life for honour, in fell battles' rage;

Honour for wealth; and oft that wealth doth cost
The death of all, and all together lost.

So that in vent'ring ill, we leave to be
The things we are, for that which we expect;
And this ambitious foul infirmity,
In having much, torments us with defect
Of that we have: so then we do neglect

The thing we have, and, all for want of wit,
Make something nothing, by augmenting it.

Such hazard now must doting Tarquin make,
Pawning his honour to obtain his lust;
And for himself, himself he must forsake :
Then where is truth, if there be no self-trust ?
When shall he think to find a stranger just,

When he himself himself confounds, betrays
To slanderous tongues, and wretched hateful

days?

Now stole

upon

the time the dead of night,
When heavy sleep had clos'd up mortal eyes;
No comfortable star did lend his light,
No noise but owls' and wolves' death-boding cries;
Now serves the season that they may surprise

The silly lambs; pure thoughts are dead and still,
While lust and murder wake to stain and kill.
And now this lustful lord leap'd from his bed,
Throwing his mantle rudely o'er his arm;
Is madly toss'd between desire and dread;
Th’ one sweetly flatters, th' other feareth harm;
But honest Fear, bewitch'd with lust's foul charm,

Doth too too oft betake him to retire,
Beaten away by brain-sick rude Desire.

His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth,
That from the cold stone sparks of fire do fly,
Whereat a waxen torch forthwith he lighteth,
Which must be lode-star to his lustful eye;
And to the flame thus speaks advisedly:

“ As from this cold flint I enforc'd this fire,
“ So Lucrece must I force to my desire.”

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Here pale with fear he doth premeditate
The dangers of his loathsome enterprise,
And in his inward mind he doth debate
What following sorrow may on this arise ;
Then looking scornfully, he doth despise

His naked armour of still-slaughter'd lust,
And justly thus controls his thoughts unjust:

“ Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it

not To darken her whose light excelleth thine ! “And die, unhallow'd thoughts, before you blot " With your uncleanness that which is divine ! “ Offer pure incense to so pure a shrine:

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